The freedom of hypocrisy

There is a fundamental human right which needs to be included in the UN Human Rights Convention.

And that is the inalienable human right to be freely hypocritical.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons – many in very poor taste – were an “expression of freedom of speech”. In fact very few of Hebdo’s cartoons are actually clever or funny though nearly all are smutty. (And it is their lack of any real intellectual content which makes me think that the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo may be a tribute to the 12 who were killed but it is certainly not for any journalistic excellence).

I must admit that I see no great insult to women generally in exhorting women who are potential customers for weight loss products to be “Beach Body Ready”. Or any insult to mis-shapen men like me in exhortations to get “magnificent abs” so that we can wear – and show off – our Calvin Klein underwear!

But how is it that the very same people who so strenuously defended Charlie Hebdo’s “rights” to publish material seen as insulting by others, now want this – to me rather inoffensive – advertisement to be banned? And banned on the grounds that it is insulting to women and sexist. I don’t much care for the colour of her bikini, and I think that anybody who believes weight loss advertisements is more than a little gullible, but I think the right of Protein World to earn their bread by advertising their products is absolute.

An insult may be meant or not, but it is only perceived in the mind of the receiver. And even when an insult is meant, but it is not perceived to be an insult, then it is no insult.

A Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the adverts removed.

A Protein World advert displayed at a London Underground station. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the posters removed. Photograph: Catherine Wylie/PA

It is no different in principle to this

or this one

I suspect that just as with the lunatics who attacked Charlie Hebdo, the fault lies in the minds of those who are irrationally insulted.


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2 Responses to “The freedom of hypocrisy”

  1. excarcerated Says:

    you have got a good point there.

  2. Hypocrisy files: Leonardo DiCaprio | The k2p blog Says:

    […] tongue” was about as low as it was possible to get. But I hadn’t realised then that being a hypocrite was a fundamental human […]

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